Perry Stolt has seen various animal events in his 15 years of working for the town of Perinton, but he said none have been more interesting than what he dealt with Aug. 29 at Center Park West.
The Animal Control Officer was called in to help free a hawk from a soccer net. The hawk was actually a great horned owl.
“We have lots of sick and injured hawks that we save, but this was the first great horned owl,” said Stolt. “I got him out ok without hurting him and when I tossed him up to fly away it was like something out of a movie.”
Stolt worked for 20 minutes to get the owl out before deciding he had to cut the net to free the bird. The owl had probably been fighting in the net most of the night because Stolt said it did not have much fight in him while he freed it.
The town of Perinton Parks Department has been partnering with Crescent Trail official Mark Burgeson to get owl nesting boxes in place around the parks in town. Center Park is the first park they planned on placing one.
The eastern screech owl and the barred owl inhabit the Crescent Trail system in Perinton year-around. The population has decreased in the past few years, however, due to a decrease in their nesting area. By providing artificial nesting boxes, it would help ensure the owls have adequate nesting locations and also increase the chances the birds will stay in the area.
Without the owls, the town would have an increase in varmints such as mice and chipmunks. In addition, these same nesting boxes are also ideal for other raptors such as American kestrel, which has been on the decline in recent years.